Association IGW sees potential for wind power to replace gas in Austria

Image by IG Windkraft.

March 17 (Renewables Now) - Austria has the potential to expand its wind power capacity to produce 83 TWh of electricity per year which would be nearly enough to replace the use of natural gas and pave the way to the country's energy independence, according to wind energy association IG Windkraft (IGW).

Like its neighbour Germany, Austria should designate 2% of its territory for wind turbines which would be enough to deploy 33 GW of wind capacity, the association said on Tuesday.

The expansion of wind energy to 2% of the country’s area would be enough to generate more electricity than Austria currently needs and is equal to roughly the entire gas consumption of the country when it comes to energy, said IGW's managing director Stefan Moidl. In 2020, Austria used 95 TWh of gas.

Under the Renewable Energy Expansion Law (EAG), which was passed earlier this year, wind capacity in the Alpine country should reach 7 GW and produce 17.3 TWh of electricity by the end of the decade when renewables are expected to cover 100%. Last year, a total of 1,307 machines with a combined capacity of 3.3 GW produced 7.6 TWh of green electricity which accounted for 10.3% of the country's electricity consumption.

IG Windkraft noted that the expansion of wind power in Austria until now has been marked by a "stop-and-go" policy and the failures are now clear amid the rising electricity price and the gas crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

To tap the wind potential, the states must take measures to improve the framework conditions and select more areas for new parks. The association stressed that the approval process must be accelerated and administrative procedures streamlined to avoid double reviews and restrict options for objections. The requirements for application documents and project documents must be also simplified, according to IG Windkraft.

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